A tankless water heater can last up to 20 years before it needs to be replaced. Regular maintenance, periodic repairs, and flushing of the unit once a year will help it reach its maximum lifespan. However, continuing to run or repair an outdated or worn-out model can cost you more than necessary. Here are seven reasons it’s time to think about tankless water heater replacement:

1. Inconsistent Water Temperatures

If the water temperature constantly fluctuates, the water heater may have mineral buildup or a malfunctioning heating element. Every tankless water heater model has a maximum flow rate. If multiple plumbing fixtures are used simultaneously, you may exceed the unit’s capacity (but reduced capacity can also be a sign of age or declining performance). Therefore, note any changes in temperature control and water usage to determine if your current unit is sufficient.

2. Declining Water Quality

The quality of the water coming from your faucet can tell a lot about the health of your tankless water heater. It may need replacement if the water comes out cloudy or rusty. If the water has sediment, doesn’t taste right, or smells bad, have a professional check your water heater and determine if it should be repaired or replaced.

3. Hot Water Runs Out Quickly

A tankless water heater is designed to provide a constant supply of hot water. If the water suddenly turns cold or doesn’t stay hot, the unit may be malfunctioning or near the end of its life. It could also be overworked, especially if you have five or more people in your household and a system designed for a two-person home. More frequent use can also shorten the system’s longevity. 

4. Higher Energy Bills

Lower energy costs are one reason to invest in a tankless water heater. If your energy bill is steadily increasing over time, the system may not be working properly, especially if it’s older and/or you have skipped some annual maintenance checks. The unit will use more energy to provide the same amount of hot water. It may be time to consider tankless water heater replacement to save money over time.

5. Strange Noises

A tankless water heater can make a little noise now and then. But if persistent, increasingly louder noise exists, mineral deposits may be clogging the unit. Worn or aging components can also cause unusual sounds to occur. Here are some sounds that should prompt you to call a technician:

  • Humming: A loud humming can indicate a faulty electrical connection, while an issue with a flow sensor, valve, or loose heating element can also cause noise. 
  • Water Hammering: The sound of water hammering can mean the pipes aren’t properly anchored; it can lead to further damage if not fixed. 
  • Hissing: A hissing noise is often a telltale sign of a leak, whether from the water heater itself or a pipe leading to it.
  • Screeching: A valve may be stuck in a partially open position, forcing water through a smaller opening at greater pressure.
  • Ticking: A ticking or tapping sound can originate from a check valve, heat trap, or the effects of water heating and cooling inside pipes.

6. Frequent Repairs

Every time your tankless water heater is repaired, you’re paying for parts, materials, and labor. If the unit has required several fixes in recent months, it’ll likely need more repairs. Over time, you’ll spend less to purchase a new model instead of paying to fix one that’ll inevitably fail and need replacement anyway.

Here’s another consideration. Repairing a tankless water heater does not restore it to 100%. It may work well after a part is repaired or replaced, but other parts have likely been affected. They’ll eventually fail too; as their performance decreases, other components will be strained. Proper maintenance can help the system last longer but after several repairs, it makes sense to invest in a newer unit with the latest technologies.

7. Water Leaks

Tankless water heaters rarely leak. However, improper installation can cause one, especially if a leak occurs soon after the unit is installed. A leak can also be a sign of a bad pipe connection. It’s often more practical to replace an aging water heater than to make small patches and fixes here and there. Your new unit is unlikely to develop leaks anytime soon.

Why Do Tankless Water Heaters Last Longer?

When a traditional water heater fails, the tank is usually the cause. Sediment buildup can eventually stop the water heater from working, or the tank can rupture. While tankless water heaters can be affected by sediment and corrosion, routine maintenance can more easily address these issues. Tank failure is never a risk.

How Often Should I Schedule Tankless Water Heater Maintenance?

The unit should be maintained by a professional once a year. If you regularly keep the water temperature high or have hard water, consider scheduling more frequent maintenance. The process entails flushing mineral deposits and checking components for wear or damage.

Call Express Plumbing for Tankless Water Heater Replacement

Homeowners in and around Boise, ID, can trust Express Plumbing Heating & Air for high-quality tankless water heater replacement. We’ll help you find the right model, size, and fuel type for your home so you can benefit from high efficiency and on-demand hot water. Every installation job starts with an evaluation of your home and an accurate cost estimate and quote. Financing options are available. To schedule an appointment and learn more, contact us online or call (208) 502-2212.

Brad Jordan

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